Our Mission is Unchanged: A Message from Medicare Rights President Fred Riccardi

Fred RiccardiInside Medicare RightsLeave a Comment

I hope this update finds you and your family in good health. 

At Medicare Rights, we understand this is a stressful time for many. The situation in our cities and towns is changing rapidly. 

Amid this still-emerging crisis, we remain steadfastly committed to ensuring older adults, people with disabilities, and their families have meaningful access to high-quality, affordable health care. To deliver on that promise while keeping our employees and communities safe, Medicare Rights is temporarily moving to telework arrangements in our New York and Washington, D.C. offices. 

We do not anticipate any major operational disruptions as a result of this shift. Our remote capabilities are robust and will allow us to work at a distance for as long as necessary. As we learn more about COVID-19, we will adjust our plans if needed to maintain public health, provide a safe workplace, and support our dedicated staff and volunteers. We know there is not a one-size-fits-all approach as organizations and businesses adapt.

As we make this transition, below are a few ways we are working to serve those in need during the COVID-19 national emergency:

  • Our National Helpline remains staffed. Counselors are available at 800-333-4114, Monday through Friday. We are happy to answer questions about Medicare, including those related to COVID-19. 
  • Medicare Rights’ free and independent reference tool, Medicare Interactive, is also up and running. This online resource is designed to help older adults and people with disabilities navigate the complex world of health insurance. It is an excellent way to find answers to a variety of Medicare questions. 
  • Medicare Rights’ Education team is busy developing consumer-friendly materials about Medicare and COVID-19. You can expect to see these updates in our newsletters and on the Medicare Rights blog—we will refresh our recent post on What You Need to Know About Medicare Coverage and the Response to Coronavirus as more information becomes available.
  • Our Federal Policy team in Washington, D.C. is working to make sure the federal government responds to the COVID-19 outbreak in ways that prioritize older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. Federal legislation, as well as Medicare guidance and program rules, are changing swiftly. For the latest, we invite you to sign up for our weekly federal policy newsletter, Medicare Watch.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve—often very quickly and with little notice—communication and community are more important than ever. We pledge to stay connected through our usual channels, including updates like this one, as well as through our blog, newsletters, and social media. The coming days and weeks may feel lonely as more localities adopt mitigation strategies like social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers several methods to help cope during what may be a trying time. 

The challenge of this moment demands we all do our part. Medicare Rights is indebted to those who are responding in ways big and small. Through our individual and collective action, may we be reminded that we are indeed stronger, together. 

Thank you for doing your part, and for supporting us as we do ours. We are grateful to each of you, now and always.

About the Author

Fred Riccardi

Fred Riccardi serves as the president of the Medicare Rights Center. As vice president of client services, Mr. Riccardi oversaw all of Medicare Rights’ client programming, including its National Consumer Helpline and developed and implemented a variety of successful programs with diverse partners, including two new ombudsman programs for New Yorkers with specific health care needs. For over a decade, he has been a lead Medicare advocate nationally, helping Medicare beneficiaries and families access and afford their care and advising professionals on how to better serve their clients.

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